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Animal activists know all too well how utterly frustrating it can be to be passionate about a cause that the majority of people choose to ignore. Often it may seem that the only way to get those folks to open their eyes and ears is by doing something so terribly shocking that they can’t help but pay attention, whether out of curiosity or pure disbelief. Organizations like PETA certainly feel this to be true. But in such cases, is there a line that mustn’t be crossed, and if so, where should that line be drawn?

Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch is a self-proclaimed “animal protector” who believes that “factory farming is the biggest crime in our society.” He’s also a founding member of the Viennese Actionists, an avant-garde movement that expresses the artists’ dissatisfaction with societal norms through “violent, radical, and explicit forms of performance art.”

Hermann Nitsch at Viennale 2012

Wikimedia Commons

His next scheduled performance will be at Dark Mofo, an annual music festival put on by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania on June 17, 2017, where he plans to stage a “bloody, sacrificial ritual” using a bull carcass.

This bull will be slaughtered before the festival specifically so that his body can be used in this work. Not surprisingly, this has sparked outrage among animal rights proponents, led by the activist group Animal Liberation Tasmania.

Dark Mofo’s creative director Leigh Carmichael has responded by saying, “The animal to be used is specifically on the market for slaughter. The carcass will be sourced locally, and the animal will be killed humanely, adhering to Australian standards.” But just because the animal’s life is already doomed, does that make it acceptable to have him killed for the sake of art?



MONA founder David Walsh seems to believe it is a worthy cause if it gets people talking and thinking about how these animals are heartlessly murdered day in and day out for meat, which is equally unnecessary for our own well-being.

“For my purposes, it is good art. I believe that it has already spiked a conversation about the appropriateness of slaughter, and Dark Mofo hasn’t even happened yet,” he said, adding, “I want the audience to ponder why meat for food is okay (at least people aren’t protesting at Mona’s barbeque) but meat for ritual or entertainment isn’t. If Nitsch’s performance is wrong … get out there and stop it. And you should also have a crack at getting your own house in order. You should, of course, stop eating meat and rapacious crops, and you should stop doing anything that has cost (economic, social or environmental).”

He has a point, and art has certainly proven itself as an effective form of activism that can open people’s eyes to the vile truths of our age. Nonetheless, the question remains: must an animal’s life be sacrificed just to get people to pay attention? And will that even work to change people’s minds and turn them against factory farming, as Nitsch hopes? Or will this bull’s life be stolen from him in vain?

What are your thoughts, Green Monsters? Please share in the comments below.

Image credit: jurlacher/Flickr

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0 comments on “Animal Activist and Artist to Use Bloody Bull Carcass to Prove Factory Farming is Wrong…What?”

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Yvette Watt
1 Years Ago

One Green Planet: I am disappointed that you still haven\'t corrected the misinformation in your headline, and what is a misleading story. I am one of the locals working to try and stop this, and this story is not helping us at all.

Please correct this - talk to me or someone in Hobart to get your facts right. Please post our petition as action people can take


1 Years Ago

These comments are fine and well... and I agree, the man is mad, a nutter, crazy and neither an activist or an artist... no matter how free your mind is??? But words are just words unless action is taken.... can a demonstration against this event be organised in Australia, Tasmanis and in Austria? It would certainly send a clear message - I doubt that man will read our comments...

Herbert Staniek
1 Years Ago

Seems like Mr. Nitsch will need some more money ... so he lets other countries `benefit´ by demonstrating his `art´ not only in Austria.
His wife Rita lately has been sentenced at court to a fine of 290000 Euro for tax evasion.
Seems she sold some of her husbands `art--objects´ without paying due taxes ...
So sorry Mrs. Nitsch.

Ruth Ludgater
1 Years Ago

To take a precious life to save a precious life does NOT make sense. There are many more humane and compassionate options available. A so-called artist with a total lack of imagination!!!

1 Years Ago


1 Years Ago

Coming from Tasmania I am disgusted with this so-called festival. It has its roots in ancient paganism and is depicted in a debauched orgy and blood rituals. Have we learnt nothing in the succeeding millennia? The event\'s description, and individual events tell of its Wicca/pagan/occult origin. Mofo is just a concealed name for mojo which is a male sex organ in many occult circles. In others, it is claimed to mean a dark magic bag of tricks. The internet has another possible meaning which is no better - "mother f***er." It should be clear to any sensible person that each description is just the same, only some are in disguise as insider occultists do. U2 has a song called "Mofo" with disgusting lyrics, and an often jumbled or rambling sentence or rhyming format. Google it if you must. The pictures on the internet advertising this program include a painting of a feast with nudes/animals and cloven-footed demons etc. in it assisting in the debauchery feast. There are more disturbing pictures also which portray a person drinking blood while tied to a cross in the nude, blood, organs, and entrails being ripped from the slain bulls body. The nude swim was and is designed to popularize losing one’s sexuality to the moon goddess of sexual promiscuity and fertility. How many rapes will occur after this program has randy-ed up some young men? The apparent love of blood and gore is the aim of the festival, while all the other costumes, art, theatrical displays, etc. are window dressing for modern paganism. There certainly is no love for animals or our fellow human beings in the motive behind the event.

Yvette Watt
1 Years Ago

* I meant as pointed out by others...

Yvette Watt
1 Years Ago

The title of this story is just wrong and I am dumbfounded as to why you would use such a headline. As pointed out by Nitsch is not an activist, and these "actions" have nothing to do with proving factory farming is wrong.

1 Years Ago

Herbert, do not feel ashamed. It is not you doing this and we all have things that our country does to animal that are abhorrent. Look at us in the US-we have Donald Trump who wants to kill bears and wolves in their dens and the same horrible stuff that there countries have. As long as you are caring and kind to animals that is what is important. the an here may call himslef an activist but any compassionate animal person is not going to slaughter a bull t prove a point.

Cheryl Gehrke
1 Years Ago

I agree that he is neither an artist or activist. He is just being sensational for sensationalisms sake. The idea is not to kill the bull or any other animal but to kill him and then exploit his body for the sake of art. Really? That is reminiscent to me of that idiot who threw crap on the virgin mary and called it art. or the equally idiotic man who put the crucifix in a jar of urine. That is disgusting and it is just as disgusting as this poor bull getting killed for the sake of art. Besides he looks like he has been eating lots of steaks and pigs too. Go veggie and lose that weight and stop killing animals.


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